Yola (singer)

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Yola
Yola in 2019
Yola in 2019
Background information
Birth nameYolanda Quartey
BornJuly 31, 1983
OriginBristol, United Kingdom
LabelsEasy Eye Sound
Websitehttps://iamyola.com

Yolanda Quartey (born 31 July 1983[1]), known professionally as Yola or Yola Carter, is an English musician, singer and songwriter from Bristol, England. Yola received four nominations at the 62nd Grammy Awards, including the all-genre Best New Artist category.

Early and personal life[edit]

Yola was born on July 31, 1983. Her family tried to discourage her from music at a young age, due to their poor background.[2][3]

Career[edit]

Yola's first gigs were primarily in the jazz and rock music genres. The counterpoints of these genres would go on to formulate her vocal style that is both hard and soft, smooth and raspy. It would prove to be difficult to find where she could fit in with this range of sound in her voice.

Yola spent time in her early career as a front woman for hire and feature vocalist, for DJ/producers such as Bugz in the Attic, Duke Dumont, Massive Attack and Sub Focus. Amongst other projects, she also worked at the production company Replay Heaven as a vocalist, writer and arranger in London.

Upon moving back to her home town of Bristol, U.K., she started spending time making music with some local musicians that formed a band called Phantom Limb. This project ran concurrently with her time in Bugz In The Attic, Massive Attack and numerous other acts. The band never got paid for a single performance in full, and finally disbanded in December 2012, completing two studio albums across 8 years.

Following this was a hiatus from performing after her mother died on September 30, 2013. This hiatus gave rise to Yola's solo career, as she emerged playing a guitar, and with songs that spoke to her life and sense of isolation as a black woman in music in the U.K. During this hiatus, she also co-wrote a top 10 song with DJ/producer Sub Focus, and delivered the lead vocal on International top 5 hit "Won't Look Back".

Yola released her first solo EP, Orphan Offering, in 2016. In February 2019, she released her debut album Walk Through Fire on Dan Auerbach's Easy Eye Sound label, to much acclaim.[1][4][5] The album title references a fire which damaged Yola's home and she escaped.[6] AllMusic called the album "an extraordinary record, one designed to be part of a grand musical tradition, and it contains enough emotion and imagination to earn its place within that lineage."[7] Brittney McKenna of NPR Music's First Listen declared, "It's the work of an artist sure to stun audiences for years to come."[8] The Wall Street Journal stated, "The album is an introduction to a seasoned, major vocalist that stands to be remembered as a breakthrough."[5]

Walk Through Fire was written, recorded and produced at Dan Auerbach's Easy Eye Studio in Nashville. Auerbach produced the record and assembled an all-star cast for its creation.[9] Most of the songwriting was a collaboration of Yola and Auerbach with contributions from Bobby Wood, Pat McLaughlin and Dan Penn. The team of studio musicians included bassist Dave Roe, harmonica player Charlie McCoy along with former members of the Memphis Boys drummer Gene Crisman and Wood on piano. Additional vocals were contributed by Vince Gill, Molly Tuttle, Ronnie McCoury and Stuart Duncan.[8] The album was recorded and engineered by M. Allen Parker. Auerbach and Parker also mixed the project.[10]In March 2019, Yola made her American television debut on CBS This Morning‘s Saturday Sessions segment, where she played selections from Walk Through Fire.[11] She, alongside Sheryl Crow, contributed to two tracks on the debut album by The Highwomen.

Yola made a splash at the Newport Folk Festival 2019 with Rolling Stone proclaiming, "Yola became the single most sought-after voice at this year’s festival. She played a triumphant side-stage show, served as an unofficial member of The Highwomen, and added her own vocals to performances by everyone from Dolly Parton to Dawes, who let the fast-rising singer take over for the entirety of their 2009 song “When You Call My Name.”[12] According to Glide Magazine, "People came from far and wide to hear Yola sing, either because they were enchanted by her excellent release from earlier this year Walk Through Fire, or because word of mouth had reached them that this was not to be missed."[13]

Walk Through Fire generated three Grammy Award nominations. The album was nominated for Best Americana Album and the track "Faraway Look" was nominated for Best American Roots Song and Best American Roots Performance. Additionally, Yola was nominated for Best New Artist.[14]

On February 21, 2020, Variety announced that she has been cast to play the role of singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe — dubbed the Godmother of rock and roll — in Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s still untitled drama on the life of Elvis Presley.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Solo

Singles[edit]

As lead artist[edit]

Title Year Peak

chart

positions

Album
US
AAA

[15]
"I Don't Wanna Lie" 2019 35 Walk Through Fire
"Hold On" 2020

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
UK
"Stop Crying Your Heart Out"
(as BBC Radio 2's Allstars)[16]
2020 non-album single

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Award Nominated work Result Ref.
2017 UK Americana Awards UK Artist of the Year Yola Won
2019 Americana Music Honors & Awards Emerging Artist of the Year Nominated [17]
Album of the Year Walk Through Fire Nominated
2020 62nd Grammy Awards Best New Artist Herself Nominated
Best Americana Album Walk Through Fire Nominated
Best American Roots Performance Faraway Look Nominated
Best American Roots Song Nominated
UK Americana Awards UK Artist of the Year Herself Won
UK Album of the Year Walk Through Fire Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bernstein, Jonathan (19 January 2019). "Yola's Fight for Roots-Rock Freedom". Rolling Stone.
  2. ^ "Grammy nominee's mum 'banned her from music'". Bbc.co.uk. 21 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Yola's Vocals and Songwriting Are Showcased on Her Strong Debut 'Walk Through Fire'". Popmatters.com. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  4. ^ John, Emma (21 February 2019). "Yola: from down and out in London to Nashville's country soul star". The Guardian.
  5. ^ a b Mazor, Barry (25 February 2019). "'Walk Through Fire' by Yola Review: Across the Great Divide". The Wall Street Journal.
  6. ^ "On Her Mighty Debut, Yola Pushes Through To 'Walk Through Fire'". Npr.org. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Walk Through Fire – Yola – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  8. ^ a b "On Her Mighty Debut, Yola Pushes Through To 'Walk Through Fire'". Npr.org.
  9. ^ Liptak, Carena. "Story Behind the Song: Yola, 'Ride Out in the Country'". The Boot.
  10. ^ "YOLA PREMIERES VIDEO FOR 'LOVE ALL NIGHT (WORK ALL DAY)' TAKEN FROM FORTHCOMING ALBUM". Circuitsweet.co.uk. 2 February 2019.
  11. ^ Kaplan, Ilana (23 March 2019). "Watch Yola Showcase Debut LP on 'CBS This Morning'". Rolling Stone.
  12. ^ Jonathan Bernstein; Suzy Exposito (29 July 2019). "Newport Folk Festival 2019: 10 Best Things We Saw". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  13. ^ [1][dead link]
  14. ^ "2020 GRAMMY Awards: Complete Winners List". Grammy.com. 20 November 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Adult Alternative Songs - April 4, 2020". Billboard. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  16. ^ "All-star BBC Children in Need charity single announced". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  17. ^ Freeman, Jon (14 May 2019). "Americana Awards Nominations 2019: Women Lead the Way". Rolling Stone.

External links[edit]